Susan Roaf

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Susan Roaf (born 1950s) is a British architect, scholar and Professor of Architectural Engineering at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh since 2005. She is best known for her work on "adapting buildings and cities for climate change."[1][2]


Born in Malaysia, Roaf obtained her first degree in Architecture in Architecture in 1975 at the Manchester University. In 1978 she obtained her Diploma in Architecture at the Architectural Association in London. And in 1989 she obtained her PhD in 1989 at Oxford Brookes University with a thesis was on the windcatchers of Yazd in Iran.[3]

After graduation in 1989 Roaf was lecturer in technology and design at Oxford Brookes University. In 2005 she moved to the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, where she was appointed Professor of Architectural Engineering.[3] She is also visiting Professor at the Open University and Arizona State University as well as an Oxford city councillor.

She has practiced for a number of years on the design of housing, schools, hospitals and town planning.[4]


In 1995 Susan Roaf built the Oxford Ecohouse,[5] a house in Oxford designed to maximise energy efficiency. It is equipped with the first photovoltaic cell roof installed in Britain.

A six bedroom family home, it produces only 130 kg CO2/annum per metre square, in contrast to comparable UK houses that produce 5000 kg CO2/annum m2. It has 4 kW peak of photovoltaic output, 5m2 of solar hot water panels and additional heating from a passive solar sun space.

It was designed using low energy construction techniques, high thermal mass and a wood burning stove to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 95%.

The house has featured in a number of architecture books and is used as a research source in sustainable design.

Selected publications[edit]

  • Beamon, Sylvia P., and Susan Roaf. The ice-houses of Britain. Routledge, 1990.
  • Susan Roaf and Mary Hancock (eds.) Energy Efficient Building: A Design Guide, Halsted Press (1992) ISBN 0-470-21952-1
  • Susan Roaf. Ecohouse 2, Architectural Press 2nd Edition (31 Jul 2003) ISBN 0-7506-5734-0
  • Roaf, Susan, David Crichton, and Fergus Nicol. Adapting buildings and cities for climate change: a 21st century survival guide. Routledge, 2009.

Articles, a selection:

  • Nicol, Fergus, and Susan Roaf. "Pioneering new indoor temperature standards: the Pakistan project." Energy and Buildings 23.3 (1996): 169-174.


  1. ^ Giddens, Anthony. The politics of climate change. Cambridge, UK (2009).
  2. ^ Hallegatte, Stéphane. "Strategies to adapt to an uncertain climate change." Global Environmental Change 19.2 (2009): 240-247.
  3. ^ a b Susan Roaf profile at Research Gateway. Accessed 30.01.2015.
  4. ^ Heriot Watt School of the Built Environment
  5. ^ McCarthy, Donnachadh (10 September 2008). "Donnachadh McCarthy: The retro eco-home dream". The Independent. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 

External links[edit]